Does osmotic shock cause physical damage in an organism?

GARRIGA

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You bring up some great points and I’d be very interested in a longer term study/experiment into this with different types of coral (LPS vs SPS vs euphyllia, leather, mushroom, zoas, etc.).

Being a fisherman my whole life down here in FL I’ve seen huge swings in temp, nutrient levels, salinity, etc that corrects itself almost as soon or sooner than it happened.

Granted, I haven’t dove to the reefs to see how the corals react to these changes but that fact that the reefs (especially the shallow reefs near biscayne bay and Ft. Myers are still growing, intact and healthy (other than some damage, mostly bleaching during long term high temps in recent years) seem to prove your suspicions about returning to normal parameters asap to be more positive than allowing them to remain at inadequate parameters for a longer amount of time.

I would imagine the corals would stay closed for a few days after both big swings but bounce back rather quickly. With all the big swings we have during hurricanes (storm surge brings in a big load of nutrients from deeper water 3x-10x what is brought in on a normal tide cycle and hyposalinity from rainfall) and then a return to normal-ish parameters usually inside 24-36 hours due to the tides bringing out the higher nutrient and polluted water from runoff from beach areas and coastal cities and bringing in cleaner water with normal nutrient levels it really surprises me that we have good healthy reefs in less than 30’ of water.

Like I said before, you brought up some excellent points and I’d love to see any further research into this subject if someone or an organization with more resources than I would be willing to work on it in the future.
I’m in the same region as yourself and also a fisherman. Love driving to the keys to go fishing. Amazed at how they survive hurricanes. Any life in those shallows likely affected by thunderstorms. Guessing nature knows to adapt to frequent stress yet prolong not so much my best guess. Kind of like running out in the cold doesn’t affect us yet staying outdoor when it’s freezing in wet cloths likely getting us sick.
 

GARRIGA

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We can give examples on the other side as well..

Dehydration, hypothermia, etc all require gradual return to normal. I think in the sense of salinity, no rapid changes are good and depending on the extent of the accidental drop (or rise) getting it back into the non lethal zone quickly is not a bad idea but adding more stress due to more rapid changes may compound issues.

I would imagine that some research has been done somewhere on the subject in context to fish and salinity.
I’ve searched and found none and purely relying on what I’m experiencing here in south Florida. Our weather is anything but predictable. Other than we know it can quickly change.

We don’t have industrial run off such as up north but do have agricultural run off dumping into both coast off the Everglades. Daily thunderstorms because of the glades. I’ve seen first hand the power of that water moving out and in daily and gotta believe any reef near those inlets must be constantly affected by salinity. We have reefs around every inlet. Life can’t be so brittle to the point that less than ideal conditions would wipe it out. Fact nature is surviving us bears that fact.
 
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BeanAnimal

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I think you are conflating (understandably) a transient event (tidal outflow changes near a delta our river mouth) for example where the sessile animals are well adapted over time and the motile animals can move at will to avoid stresses, with sustained one time events that the animals are not conditioned to endure.

In any case, the dangers of going from 35 PSU down to 20 PSU and then 20 PSU back up to 35 PSU are a bit different.

Osmotic issues can happen in both directions, but rapidly increasing salinity (to my understanding) is far more of a danger to the cell structure. This would be osmotic shock, where the rapid reduction from 35 PSU down to 20 PSU would be more of an osmotic stress.

While the reduced salinity may cause systemic stress, the rapid increase can pile on dehydration along with the cell damage, etc.

As I mentioned above, if the fish survived the trip to 20 PSU that means that they somewhat adapted. While the stress at that level may eventually overcome them, adding acute stress back to 35 PSU makes less sense than gradually adapting them back to that level. Again, if the 20 PSU level is acutely deadly, then raising then rapidly taking them to a non acute level (less than 35 PSU) may need to happen, but the rest of the trip should be gradual.
 

GARRIGA

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I think you are conflating (understandably) a transient event (tidal outflow changes near a delta our river mouth) for example where the sessile animals are well adapted over time and the motile animals can move at will to avoid stresses, with sustained one time events that the animals are not conditioned to endure.

In any case, the dangers of going from 35 PSU down to 20 PSU and then 20 PSU back up to 35 PSU are a bit different.

Osmotic issues can happen in both directions, but rapidly increasing salinity (to my understanding) is far more of a danger to the cell structure. This would be osmotic shock, where the rapid reduction from 35 PSU down to 20 PSU would be more of an osmotic stress.

While the reduced salinity may cause systemic stress, the rapid increase can pile on dehydration along with the cell damage, etc.

As I mentioned above, if the fish survived the trip to 20 PSU that means that they somewhat adapted. While the stress at that level may eventually overcome them, adding acute stress back to 35 PSU makes less sense than gradually adapting them back to that level. Again, if the 20 PSU level is acutely deadly, then raising then rapidly taking them to a non acute level (less than 35 PSU) may need to happen, but the rest of the trip should be gradual.
I mention river flows but my main point is the affect of storms such as hurricanes which do drop salinity in shallow waters. Granted what lives there may have evolved to deal with it.

I grasp there’s a difference in dropping be rising but do we have science based facts this will result in worse affects be a gradual and prolonged recovery in less than ideal conditions my contention. Don’t know? Curious if perhaps others have inadvertently experienced this and although purely anecdotal would still bring some light on the subject. Fact some dip corals in freshwater would bear witness that perhaps temporary extremes aren’t as bad as we think. Let’s not forget the insect repellent some swear by and yet coral survive it.
 

BeanAnimal

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I mention river flows but my main point is the affect of storms such as hurricanes which do drop salinity in shallow waters. Granted what lives there may have evolved to deal with it.

I grasp there’s a difference in dropping be rising but do we have science based facts this will result in worse affects be a gradual and prolonged recovery in less than ideal conditions my contention. Don’t know? Curious if perhaps others have inadvertently experienced this and although purely anecdotal would still bring some light on the subject. Fact some dip corals in freshwater would bear witness that perhaps temporary extremes aren’t as bad as we think. Let’s not forget the insect repellent some swear by and yet coral survive it.
A "dip" for seconds or minutes vs spending hours or days is big difference.

I went and asked AI for resources and browsed several of the citations to ensure that they contextually supported my general answer. I am not a marine biologist and would certainly defer to one if you want a better answer. Here are some texts and papers that may help.

  1. Evans, D. H., Piermarini, P. M., & Choe, K. P. (2005). The Multifunctional Fish Gill: Dominant Site of Gas Exchange, Osmoregulation, Acid-Base Regulation, and Excretion of Nitrogenous Waste. Physiological Reviews, 85(1), 97-177.
    • This comprehensive review discusses the various functions of fish gills, including osmoregulation, and how they respond to changes in environmental salinity.
  2. Varsamos, S., Wendelaar Bonga, S. E., & Flik, G. (2005). Osmoregulation in vertebrates: principles and challenges. In Fish Osmoregulation (pp. 1-25). CRC Press.
    • This chapter provides an overview of the principles of osmoregulation in fish and discusses the physiological challenges they face when exposed to changes in salinity.
  3. Boeuf, G., & Payan, P. (2001). How should salinity influence fish growth? Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology & Pharmacology, 130(4), 411-423.
    • This paper examines the effects of salinity on fish growth and physiology, highlighting the stress responses associated with salinity changes.
  4. Crocker, C. E., & Cech, J. J. (1997). Effects of Environmental Salinity on Growth, Oxygen Consumption, and Osmoregulation in Juvenile White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus). Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 167, 324-330.
    • This study investigates how environmental salinity affects the physiological functions of juvenile white sturgeon, providing insights into the impacts of salinity changes on osmoregulation and stress.
  5. Perry, S. F., & Gilmour, K. M. (2006). Acid–Base Balance and CO2 Excretion in Fish: Unanswered Questions and Emerging Models. Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 154(1-2), 199-215.
    • This article discusses the mechanisms of acid-base regulation in fish, which are closely related to their ability to handle salinity changes.
  6. Marshall, W. S., & Grosell, M. (2006). Ion Transport, Osmoregulation, and Acid-Base Balance. In The Physiology of Fishes (pp. 177-230). CRC Press.
    • This book chapter provides detailed information on how fish regulate ions and maintain osmotic balance, which is crucial for understanding the impacts of rapid salinity changes.
 

GARRIGA

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A "dip" for seconds or minutes vs spending hours or days is big difference.

I went and asked AI for resources and browsed several of the citations to ensure that they contextually supported my general answer. I am not a marine biologist and would certainly defer to one if you want a better answer. Here are some texts and papers that may help.

  1. Evans, D. H., Piermarini, P. M., & Choe, K. P. (2005). The Multifunctional Fish Gill: Dominant Site of Gas Exchange, Osmoregulation, Acid-Base Regulation, and Excretion of Nitrogenous Waste. Physiological Reviews, 85(1), 97-177.
    • This comprehensive review discusses the various functions of fish gills, including osmoregulation, and how they respond to changes in environmental salinity.
  2. Varsamos, S., Wendelaar Bonga, S. E., & Flik, G. (2005). Osmoregulation in vertebrates: principles and challenges. In Fish Osmoregulation (pp. 1-25). CRC Press.
    • This chapter provides an overview of the principles of osmoregulation in fish and discusses the physiological challenges they face when exposed to changes in salinity.
  3. Boeuf, G., & Payan, P. (2001). How should salinity influence fish growth? Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology & Pharmacology, 130(4), 411-423.
    • This paper examines the effects of salinity on fish growth and physiology, highlighting the stress responses associated with salinity changes.
  4. Crocker, C. E., & Cech, J. J. (1997). Effects of Environmental Salinity on Growth, Oxygen Consumption, and Osmoregulation in Juvenile White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus). Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 167, 324-330.
    • This study investigates how environmental salinity affects the physiological functions of juvenile white sturgeon, providing insights into the impacts of salinity changes on osmoregulation and stress.
  5. Perry, S. F., & Gilmour, K. M. (2006). Acid–Base Balance and CO2 Excretion in Fish: Unanswered Questions and Emerging Models. Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 154(1-2), 199-215.
    • This article discusses the mechanisms of acid-base regulation in fish, which are closely related to their ability to handle salinity changes.
  6. Marshall, W. S., & Grosell, M. (2006). Ion Transport, Osmoregulation, and Acid-Base Balance. In The Physiology of Fishes (pp. 177-230). CRC Press.
    • This book chapter provides detailed information on how fish regulate ions and maintain osmotic balance, which is crucial for understanding the impacts of rapid salinity changes.
Before I read those sources. Are all based on fish or also speak to corals and anemones? I’m more concerned with latter as I assume their structure more fragile than fish yet at the same time might not be as affected. Sort of like that made of water not affected by pressure at depth yet air is.

I’m also not a biologist therefore no clue what I speak in these regards yet logically thinking based on what I’ve seen or experienced or know of. Known fish to go from lower specific gravity to 35 ppt without issue at least not longterm. Back to FW dips those can last five minutes plus and how many of us have floated and dropped clueless to the fact LFS ran tanks at lower salinity to hide diseases. Too many variables but still rather intriguing. At least to me.
 

BeanAnimal

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Before I read those sources. Are all based on fish or also speak to corals and anemones? I’m more concerned with latter as I assume their structure more fragile than fish yet at the same time might not be as affected. Sort of like that made of water not affected by pressure at depth yet air is.

I’m also not a biologist therefore no clue what I speak in these regards yet logically thinking based on what I’ve seen or experienced or know of. Known fish to go from lower specific gravity to 35 ppt without issue at least not longterm. Back to FW dips those can last five minutes plus and how many of us have floated and dropped clueless to the fact LFS ran tanks at lower salinity to hide diseases. Too many variables but still rather intriguing. At least to me.
Fish and anemones work differently. Anemones and corals are osmoconformers. Fish don't match their internal salinity to the water they are in, they process the salt and keep their own internal salinity level. Anemones and corals do match their own internal salinity to the water that they are in. This process takes time.

However, like fish the chances of osmotic shock, cell damage and dehydration are more acute with rapid salinity rises compared to rapid salinity decreases. Also (again) there is vast difference between a "dip" for a few minutes and a coral that has grown from settling to maturity in a tidal environment and is conditioned for those cyclic changes.

Apparently given a quick search it also takes far more energy for an osmoconformer to adjust to rising salinity than it does to adjust to lowering salinity. So again an already stressed animal that has found some level of acclimation at the lower level will be further stressed by rapidly trying to re-introduce it to higher salinity.

So the advice (honestly in either direction) is that if you have a rapid event that puts any of your marine animals in a high or low salinity situation for extended periods (hours, days) then a rapid move to a "safe" level from "deadly" may be advised but gradual return to normal should be done over an extended period.

From what I can see

Most recommendations from similar texts and papers indicate 1 PSU every 3-6 hours and no more than 4 PSU per 24 hours. Fish can tolerate a bit more, maybe up to 6 PSU in 24 hours. With (again) the more dangerous transition being from low salinity to high salinity.

There is actually a LOT of data out here on this subject if you are willing to put some time in and do some research. What I posted above should get you started. Most of those documents cite other relevant documents as well.

Good luck!
 

GARRIGA

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Fish and anemones work differently. Anemones and corals are osmoconformers. Fish don't match their internal salinity to the water they are in, they process the salt and keep their own internal salinity level. Anemones and corals do match their own internal salinity to the water that they are in. This process takes time.

However, like fish the chances of osmotic shock, cell damage and dehydration are more acute with rapid salinity rises compared to rapid salinity decreases. Also (again) there is vast difference between a "dip" for a few minutes and a coral that has grown from settling to maturity in a tidal environment and is conditioned for those cyclic changes.

Apparently given a quick search it also takes far more energy for an osmoconformer to adjust to rising salinity than it does to adjust to lowering salinity. So again an already stressed animal that has found some level of acclimation at the lower level will be further stressed by rapidly trying to re-introduce it to higher salinity.

So the advice (honestly in either direction) is that if you have a rapid event that puts any of your marine animals in a high or low salinity situation for extended periods (hours, days) then a rapid move to a "safe" level from "deadly" may be advised but gradual return to normal should be done over an extended period.

From what I can see

Most recommendations from similar texts and papers indicate 1 PSU every 3-6 hours and no more than 4 PSU per 24 hours. Fish can tolerate a bit more, maybe up to 6 PSU in 24 hours. With (again) the more dangerous transition being from low salinity to high salinity.

There is actually a LOT of data out here on this subject if you are willing to put some time in and do some research. What I posted above should get you started. Most of those documents cite other relevant documents as well.

Good luck!
Thx
 

kenchilada

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Osmotic issues can happen in both directions, but rapidly increasing salinity (to my understanding) is far more of a danger to the cell structure. This would be osmotic shock, where the rapid reduction from 35 PSU down to 20 PSU would be more of an osmotic stress.
This is true, going from low salinity to high salinity causes water to evacuate the cell and dehydrate.

I made this mistake about five years ago when I bought several fish, checked the salinity in one of the bags, then matched my quarantine tank salinity to that and dumped the fish in. I only temperature acclimate. Well ONE of the bags was much lower than the others and I only checked the one. So I lost a Lamarck angel this way. The fish had red marks that someone on humble.fish said looked consistent with organ damage. I went back to the store and tested the water in the tank that fish was in and it was near hypo. Stupid mistake.


I’ve also used his “salvage protocol” many times to good success, and this includes dropping salinity to 1.017 or lower to ease internal functions of a very ill fish.

I have no experience with anemones.
 

drolmaeye

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This is true, going from low salinity to high salinity causes water to evacuate the cell and dehydrate.

I made this mistake about five years ago when I bought several fish, checked the salinity in one of the bags, then matched my quarantine tank salinity to that and dumped the fish in. I only temperature acclimate. Well ONE of the bags was much lower than the others and I only checked the one. So I lost a Lamarck angel this way. The fish had red marks that someone on humble.fish said looked consistent with organ damage. I went back to the store and tested the water in the tank that fish was in and it was near hypo. Stupid mistake.


I’ve also used his “salvage protocol” many times to good success, and this includes dropping salinity to 1.017 or lower to ease internal functions of a very ill fish.

I have no experience with anemones.
I run a small operation so I have never bought more than one fish at a time . . . EXCEPT my most recent purchase I bought two. One came from more of a display tank with coral, the other came from a larger, fish-only system. Got home and the first bag tested at 33 ppt, the second tested at at 25 ppt. My understanding (as discussed earlier in the thread) was that fish can handle a rapid drop with little stress, but a rapid increase is trouble, so I set the QT to 27 and acclimated in my usual way. I brought the salinity up to 35 ppt over the next ten days just through manual top-off from my saltwater storage.

That experience (and your post) made me realize that those who do not have the luxury of a QT may not have a choice and may need to try to introduce a fish to a tank with a 10 ppt (or more!) jump. I don't know if my approach was the best for the two fish I had, but luckily they seemed to both pull through without too much apparent stress. But they are relatively hardy fish: ruby red dragonet and springeri damsel.
 

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What species of anemone is it? Sometime they get infected with organism when they’re sick and stressed.
Consider treat him with medication. It it have been months I don’t think (my guess is anyway) it is directly related to the osmotic shock. The shock can cause your tank to be unstable and not optimal orbit can cause subsequent illness to the anemone.
did you deo an ICP test? You probably nuked your microbiome. Looks like you have a sand free substrate. Lots anenomes use light to grow and thw distressed one is on the bottom of the rock. Might akso want to do a aquabiomics test while you are waiting for it to recover...How about adding some bine shrimp to tank?
 
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